This month's crisis is the automatic reduction in the increase in government spending over the next few years. The size of the reduction amounts to less than 2.5 cents on every dollar, but Mr. Obama, doing his best Chicken Little impersonation the other day, sounded as if our whole economy was at risk and that we were all headed for the soup lines. It was nonsense of course, and the president managed only to make himself look silly in the eyes of anyone who has been paying attention.
Here's the video of the president's talk: Anyway, even if you've had it up to here with sequestration silliness you still need to read George Will's column. It's an excellent summation of why - if Mr. Obama doesn't soon adopt a different approach for dealing with the nation's fiscal problems and doesn't stop trying to paint Republicans as people who secretly eat babies - he's going to wind up in the history books as one of the most unserious men ever to occupy the Oval Office.
Here's an excerpt from Will's skewering of the phony, contrived "panic" we've been subjected to over the past week or so:
Batten down the hatches — the sequester will cut $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget! Or: Head for the storm cellar — spending will be cut 2.3 percent! Or: Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending! Or: Chaos is coming because the sequester will cut a sum $25 billion larger than was just shoveled out the door (supposedly, but not actually) for victims of Hurricane Sandy! Or: Heaven forfend, the sequester will cut 47 percent as much as was spent on the AIG bailout! Or: Famine, pestilence and locusts will come when the sequester causes federal spending over 10 years to plummet from $46 trillion all the way down to $44.8 trillion! Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama must endure a 5 percent cut!In fact, the sequester, which, let us remember, was Mr. Obama's idea in the first place, will reduce spending to about what it was a year ago. I don't remember that level of spending imposing any of the dire hardships that we're being told a return to that level will surely produce.
The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering. At his unintentionally hilarious hysteria session Tuesday, Obama said: The sequester’s “meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending. “And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.”
Read the rest of Will's column. It's good.